Fish Balls in Tomato Sauce

  • Serves

    serves 4


A spicy tomato sauce injects bright flavor into these fish balls, a North African Jewish delicacy. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Katie Robbins's story Season of Rejoicing.


  • 1 lb. ground cod or haddock
  • 12 cup matzo meal
  • 14 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 12 tsp. ground coriander
  • 14 tsp. ground ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups fish or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup whole, peeled canned tomatoes with juice, crushed
  • 1 tsp. sugar, plus more to taste
  • 12 tsp. cayenne
  • 14 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 14 tsp. ground allspice


Step 1

Stir together fish, matzo meal, 3 tbsp. parsley, cumin, coriander, ginger, 2 cloves garlic, egg white, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Form into thirty-two 1⁄2-oz. balls; chill.

Step 2

Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic; cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, sugar, cayenne, chile flakes, allspice, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Add fish balls, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until balls are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.

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